Panasonic GH3 - Review and User Experience - Part 4 - The advantages of the electronic shutter, ISO speeds and who makes the sensor speculation.

For my full Panasonic GH3 Review and User Experience - CLICK HERE

I've written about the electronic shutter on the GH3 and G5 in terms of how it allows silent photography. There is of course another advantage in that when using it there is no vibration whatsoever in the camera body. Since Panasonic m4/3 cameras don't have built in stabilisation this is useful for slow shutter speeds using manual focus non-native lenses such as my Voigtlander 20mm pictured above.

N.B. The manual focus magnification mode for this type of lens seems somewhat different. I can't find anything in the manual that can assign this to a button, and the previous method of pressing the thumb wheel at the back doesn't work. For the GH3 it seems that you have to touch the screen at the point you want to focus on and the screen and EVF then show the magnified view. I'll try to find out if this is the only way to do it. It does work fine, but as yet I'm not sure whether I think its a good method as I haven't used it much.

Back to the shutter. These are shots taken at 1/25th. sec. which seems to work well and is 100% repeatable, with sharp results and no camera shake. Any lower and its a bit hit and miss as far as my hand steadiness is concerned.

I am keen to check this out since I really want to keep my ISO at 125 as much as possible. Despite the fact that ISO 200 is the real base ISO and there are all sorts of warnings about poor dynamic range if the lower setting is used, as before with the Olympus PEN's I had that gave this option, I don't had a problem with it. And there is a difference. Just like on the Olympus cameras the lower setting on the GH3 produces a noticeably cleaner file, with no luminance noise, which is present even at ISO 200. I believe m4/3 cameras used to do this thing whereby they underexposed by a stop to protect the highlights and then use in camera software the lighten the shadows. This on both raw and jpg files. I can't say whether they still do this and whether or not the lowest ISO 100 /125 performs this process or not.

However it is apparent that ISO 125 produces better looking files and I'm certainly glad to see it on the GH3. Of course the GH3 having a base ISO of 200 makes it even more likely that this is the same sensor as in the Olympus OM-D. Certainly the few shots I've taken so far do look very similar to what the OM-D gives me. I'll do a comparison in due course. But this base ISO (different to ISO 160 on the Panasonic sensors), the fact that the multi-aspect sensor from the GH1/2 is gone and most telling of all the fact that when Panasonic were asked who made the sensor they declined to answer, gives a clue that is probably made by Sony and probably the same as in the OM-D. At this moment in time Panasonic have still made no statement contradicting the internet perception that this is a Sony sensor and if it was made by them they surely would have come out and said so. 

For my full Panasonic GH3 Review and User Experience - CLICK HERE

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